Zippers! Another one of those techniques that everyone seems afraid of!
Fear not, zippers are another one that are super easy once you learn a few tricks and practice a bit.
For this tutorial, I’ll be inserting a skirt zipper, but the same process can be used for zippers in hoodies, bags, and more, but you’ll need to pay attention to the TYPE of zipper you buy depending on your project.
Standard/conventional zippers are open at one end and closed at the other. That’s the type of zipper we are using for this tutorial. They are suitable for pants, skirts, dresses… anything that you only need to open from one end.
Separating zippers open at both ends, like on a jacket or hoodie. Make sure you buy a separating zipper if you’re planning on making either of those things.
Closed ended zippers are closed at both ends, which makes them perfect for pillow covers and bags. You can easily convert a standard zipper to a close ended zipper by stitching the open end closed.
As far as zipper material, it’s mostly a matter of preference. If you want a non-intrusive zipper, go with a nylon zipper. If you want it to show, I’d recommend metal or plastic.
I’m putting the zipper into the back center seam (between the two back pieces). You could also put the zippper into the side seam of the skirt, but it lays better in back.
Line up the back pieces of the skirt Right Sides Together. Pin along the edge of the skirt as shown.
Sew along this line. You will want somewhere around an inch of seam allowance on each side. The more the merrier with zippers. So remember to take this into consideration when you are cutting out your pieces. Use as long a stitch as possible for this (this is called “basting”).
Here’s your stitched line.
Press this seam open with an iron, so it lays flat.
Here is the seam pressed flat, with the zipper laid on top where we want it.
Pin the zipper in place. Make sure it’s face down… been there, done that!
Using a zipper foot, begin stitching the zipper to the skirt, starting at the top edge.
You can use a straight stitch or a zig-zag stitch for this.
Stitch until the needle is just past the zipper stop, which is the metal piece that keeps the zipper from coming apart at the bottom edge (indicated by the red arrow).
Make sure the needle is down (pushed into the fabric).
Lift up the presser foot and rotate the fabric so you can sew across the bottom of the zipper.
Once it’s rotated like so, backstitch a few times to really secure the end of the zipper.
Now that you’re on the other side of the zipper, rotate the fabric so you can sew up the rest of it (make sure the needle is down before rotating the fabric).
Now sew up this side of the zipper until you’re back where you started.
Here we are. Backstitch a few times.
Here’s the back side of your zipper, all sewn up.
And here’s the front. We’re almost done.
Use a seam ripper to remove the basting stitches over the zipper.
Stop right before the bottom line of stitches that are securing the end of zipper.
That’s it! Now you’re zipper is ready for action.
Finish the top edge of the skirt and you’re finished.